Wish come true: The Genie smart lock may have year-long battery life

Ever since Lockitron hit the scene a couple years ago, dozens of other hardware startups have jumped on the smart lock bandwagon and produced their own take on the idea. Today, there’s no shortage of them, but no matter what model you choose, none are particularly stellar when it comes to battery life.

Genie, an upcoming smart lock from a startup of the same name, aims to remedy this problem. Using a novel network connection scheme, the lock (which is still in the early prototype stages at this point) will reportedly be able to operate for a full year on the same set of batteries. This stands in stark contrast to most other locks, which typically require new batteries after just a couple months.

Also, just to be clear, we’re talking about locks that can be closed and opened remotely, not just locks that open when you get close, like Kevo.

Speaking with TechCrunch, Genie founder Joel McAndrew sheds some light on why such high battery life is tough to pull off:

“One of the main issues facing smart lock developers is power management and ensuring battery life is at an acceptable level,” he said, pointing to the problems Lockitron has had with battery life. “Current devices must play a trade off between the usability of the device (how frequently the device checks for a wi-fi signal) and the battery life.”

Genie Smart Lock

Generally speaking, smart locks (specifically, ones that allow remote unlocking) need to ping your network for updates every few seconds as they wait to receive a command. This sucks ups a lot of power, especially over WiFi connections, and when combined with the power it takes to open/close the lock itself, it can drain a battery quite quickly.

To circumvent this problem, the Genie takes a slightly different approach. To help manage power, the lock will come with a special communications hub that you plug into your router. This hub acts as a middle man between the lock and your network, and talks to the connected door handle via Bluetooth Low Energy — a much more energy-efficient network protocol. That communications handoff essentially means the smart lock’s battery drain is kept to a minimum because the thirsty Wi-Fi radio is being powered by the grid, and the batteries inside the door handle only need power BLE transfers.

Of course, this scheme doesn’t come without a tradeoff: you’ll have to invite yet another hub into your house in order for it to work. If you’ve already got a lot of other smart devices that rely on hubs to connect to your home network, that might be a dealbreaker.

Genie isn’t quite available for purchase just yet, but the company has opened up preorders and has expressed plans to jumpstart production with a crowdfunding campaign in the near future. We’ll keep you posted with updates on that front, but in the meantime you can find out more here.

Product Review

4K in home security is finally here, thanks to Arlo’s Ultra UHD smart cam

The 4K home security camera is finally here! Class-leading image clarity and a super-wide field of vision makes Arlo Ultra an early contender for the year’s best smart cam. While there are definite quirks to the device, the device…
Smart Home

Ring home security system now works as a hub for smart home devices

Ring is helping the issue of smart home fragmentation with its Works With Ring program. It lets thousands of smart home devices built on Z-Wave connect to Ring's Alarm Base Station.
Home Theater

Logitech’s Harmony Express remote: a steep price for simplicity

Thanks to its built-in Alexa support, Logitech's latest remote, the Harmony Express, eliminates huge button layouts with voice commands to control all of your smart home gadgets. But at $250, is it worth it?
Deals

Amazon drops pre-order prices for Alexa-compatible Ring Smart Light starter kit

Amazon dropped the prices for Ring Smart Light Starter Kit bundles a week before the lights start shipping. Smart security cameras and lights turn on automatically and alert homeowners to visitors or intruders.
Deals

Amazon slashes Easter Week prices for Dyson vacuums and air purifiers

Amazon slashed the prices on many Dyson high-tech products, including vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, and more for Easter Week. Dyson's premium household tools attract millions of fans and Amazon took deep discounts on popular products.
Smart Home

What you need to know before buying a new washer and dryer

Washers and dryers are big, expensive appliances that you'll want to last for decades. Our buying guide will help you sift through all the options and find the best machines for you.
Deals

Amazon and Best Buy halve the price of the Facebook Portal for Mother’s Day

Amazon and Best Buy both cut the price in half for the Facebook Portal smart display for Mother's Day. The Portal's smart camera will follow you as you move around the room during video calls. The Portal also has Amazon Alexa built in.
Smart Home

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here are the best Alexa tips and tricks

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa has plenty of neat skills. So many, in fact, it seems like new ones appear every day. We've rounded up the top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.
Smart Home

Philips Hue users can activate their favorite routines through Google Home

Philips Hue expanded its Google Home integration through the Gentle Sleep and Wake routine. Just give Google the proper instructions are your lights will brighten or dim over half an hour.
Smart Home

There will be 200 million smart speakers by year’s end, analysts say

A new report by the research and analysis firm Canalys predicts that more than 200 million smart speakers will be engaged by users by the end of 2019, which is a growth of over 82% from last year.
Smart Home

Oh, Zuck, no! Facebook rumored to be creating a voice assistant to rival Alexa

Facebook hasn't been a big player in the smart speaker market, but that may be changing: The social media giant is reportedly working on a digital assistant to compete against Alexa and others.
Smart Home

SMEG debuts colorful dual-fuel Portofino 48-inch ranges for no-compromise cooks

When SMEG launches new kitchen appliances, you can count on retro-classic design, gorgeous high-end finishes, envy-inducing functional wizardry, and lofty prices. This week SMEG launched its Portofino Dual-Fuel 48-inch Pro-Style Range.
Deals

Walmart offers big price cuts on air fryers from La Gourmet and Farberware

Walmart made deep price cuts on air fryers from La Gourmet, Farberware, and others. Air frying is faster, healthier, and easier to clean than traditional deep frying. You also can use most air fryers for baking, roasting, and grilling.
Deals

Amazon drops a killer Instant Pot deal with prices under $60

Instant Pots are the popular kitchen device known for making cooking easier and faster. Thinking of finally getting yourself one? Amazon dropped the price of the Instant Pot Duo Mini. Prepare delicious meals this Easter Sunday with this…